Edmund Loh (MTC new Wallenberg Academy Fellow), publishes in Journal of Bacteriology
Pathogenic Neisseria express type four pili (Tfp) which are important for adhesion, aggregation and transformation. Some strains of N. meningitidis are able to vary the sequence of the major subunit (PilE) of the Tfp. The mechanisms underlying this variation are not fully defined but the process requires several non-coding elements that are found adjacent to the pilE gene. In this work, Edmund and colleagues have identified a cis-encoded RNA antisense to pilE in N. meningitidis. Using Northern blot and RT-PCR analysis, they have found that the RNA is expressed in stationary phase or following salt stress. This work also indicates that this RNA does not significantly affect pilE or pilin expression levels but instead appears to modulate pilin variation.